I speak from experience when I say time management is a necessary skill if you want to be successful in college. Time management isn’t just a useful skill for college either. You can carry this skill with you after graduation, into your new career field and where ever else life may take you.

There are several methods that I’ve found to be very effective in helping me manage my time as a college student. Between going to class, doing homework or projects, studying, working a job, and even maintaining a minimal social life, time management is what will keep your sanity mostly intact while you work towards that degree. Finding a planner that you will actually use on a daily basis has been a huge one for me personally. Getting into a daily routine that really jives with me and allows for some “me time” has been a big game changer as well.

Using A Planner

A lot of students will go out and buy themselves a nice planner with the intention of using it every single day throughout the semester. Sometimes they are successful at getting themselves into this great habit, while other times not so much. Often, I run into fellow students who have a great planner, but it spends most of its time sitting on their table at home, closed and unused, or under a pile of books in their closet. Buying a planner means nothing if you don’t actually use the thing.

Statistics show that it takes at least 21 days to form a solid habit. As a student, incorporating my planner into my daily routine has become one of the best habits I have created during my time in college so far. I start writing in my planner as soon as the course documents or calendar are released, about a week before the semester starts at my school.

Every school does things differently, but for me personally, they send out a course calendar with the syllabus with important dates included, such as exams. I know that these dates can change throughout the semester due to different circumstances. Keeping that in mind, I’m sure to change the dates in my planner immediately if my instructor tells us that an exam date or project date is changing. My planner keeps me from double booking myself as well as from missing any important test dates or due dates.

I don’t just write my school assignments in my planner. If I know I have a lot to do or that I want to do, I write out all of my tasks in my planner. I write them out on the day that I feel I would have the most time to accomplish them all. I even give myself a time frame in which I want to finish up everything. Keeping my productivity levels up, even when I’m not focusing on school work is so important. Being consistent with time management with all aspects is the key to making is second nature.

Create a Daily Routine

This may sound silly, but I have a habit of setting an alarm clock on my days off. The reason I do this is to keep myself on a consistent sleep schedule, crucial to my daily routine. As well as give me more time during the day to be productive. Even though every day of the week looks a little different because of my school/work schedule, I do have a consistent daily routine that is unique to each day of the week. By doing this I know exactly what to expect most days, making certain chores or tasks so much less loathsome.

My school days during the week look a little like this. My alarm wakes me up at 6:00am, and I hit snooze until about 6:30 because I know I have the time to relax and wake up. Rather than jumping out of bed and running out of the house because I decided to sleep in until the last possible minute. My class starts at 9:00am, but I like to get to my school at least an hour before my class starts. That gives me time to wake up, drink my coffee, and review my notes on the material we’ve already covered or are going to be covering in class that day.

By the time my class starts I’m already fully caffeinated and am in the mindset to continue focusing on the class material that I had already been reviewing. Once class ends, I usually pack up and head to the gym. Some days I’ve planned to spend some time with a classmate reviewing our notes, a plan that I usually would have written in my planner a few days prior. I’ll also typically have some errands or chores written out in my planner that I know I need to do that afternoon, with the goal in mind of completing them by 5:00pm.

That way I can be home, showered, and have dinner cooked by 6:00pm. By 7:00 I’m finished eating and am able to spend an hour or two either studying or working on a hobby of mine. Making time for some “me time” or “hobby time” is just as important as scheduling time to study for an exam. What good will you be if you’re completely burnt out from strictly focusing on studying and working your job in your spare time? Plan time for yourself and you’ll find that your productivity levels will consistently be at their peak.

When 9-9:30 rolls around and I’m making my way into bed to get comfy and ready for a good night’s sleep. Getting to bed on time is a crucial part of my daily routine. This is what helps me get up at the same time the next morning, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new day ahead of me. My productivity levels suffer when I stay up too late and get very minimal sleep. We all feel like there isn’t enough time in one day but staying on top of my daily routine and managing my time accordingly is what makes me most successful while in college. I make the most of my limited day light hours.

Long story short, college can be tough, but not insurmountable. I’ve seen so many of my fellow classmates fall deep into a state of burnout, totally overwhelmed by their school load and other life things they have going on. Something that could have been easily avoided If they utilized their planner and managed their time more appropriately. I’m definitely not perfect, I get caught up watching a tv show or feel lazy and put certain tasks off at times. Recognizing these behaviors and making adjustments as soon as possible is the real challenge here. College doesn’t get any easier, and neither does life after college necessarily. But don’t make it harder than it needs to be.